Date: 10th December 2012 at 5:30pm
Written by:

IS it just me or does coming into work on a Monday morning significantly improve following a Liverpool win? The birds sing, the sun shines, there wasn’t even frost on my windscreen!

Now I could wax lyrical about the Reds this morning, I could add my 50 pence to post-match debate, but you will find that ‘in da club’ (is that a cool rap reference? Is it spoiled by currency conversion rates?). Instead, what I want to discuss is the topic of progression.

This is a subject I have found myself discussing increasingly in recent weeks whether it be on this site, on twitter or in the real world (imagine that!).

Whilst providing a clear cover-all definition for progression is not as impossible (or as messy) as trying to nail jelly to the wall, it is no easy task. Ultimately in our case it will be FSG that decide on what they consider progression to be, but that shouldn’t stop us discussing our own views and certainly vocalising them if we think the difference is too vast.

Now before I begin I want an early disclaimer/warning. I am of the mindset that for a club to be successful it needs stability. I don’t think Rafa should have been sacked, likewise I don’t think Kenny should have been sacked. As for Hodgson I don’t think he should have got the job at all! That is my over-riding belief and I say this pre-empting the inevitable ‘u r way up Rogers arse you nob’ comments.

On with the show as it were. It is always a grey (not 50 shades you naughty people) area when trying to compare managers or sides; for example who was better Shankly or Paisley? One built us from second division obscurity laying foundations and the other took us to the highest heights, but there would be no definitive answer as each encountered and dealt with differing circumstances.

What this example does allow for though is a constructive discussion as we are talking about completed periods of time, and in my mind this is crucial when discussing progression. What I have seen a lot of talk recently centres around our current league position and how this should be used as a barometer to gauge the progress of Rodgers.

For example, ‘we finished 8th last season and are currently 10th, where is the progression?’ In my mind this is a flawed concept from the start as by 2013 if results favoured us we could be 3rd, likewise on the flip side we could drop further down the table. How can a constructive critique be formed when the subject matter could fluctuate so much? A microscopic view of this can be taken off Twitter at half-time on Sunday. The consensus appeared to be as if Liverpool had been relegated to the conference and children of under 3 could perform better.

As the game progressed the introduction of Messrs Cole and Henderson added to the withdrawal of Lucas added to the hysteria, yet come the final whistle the game had been turned around to 3 points with the aforementioned players having star roles. Once the game was finished, the performance and result can be judged, but at half-time?

Where is this leading you may well ask whilst smashing your head against the wall? Well, in light of criticism being sent Rodgers way we need to make an assessment of progress. To me, the most sensible way to assess progress is to compare to a period of time directly before. It would ridiculous to slate Rodgers for our current position in comparison to the Rafa’s season when we finished second, just as it is ridiculous to compare to our league finish last season which was a result of 38 games and not 16. Therefore in my mind, as Rodgers has been in charge for 16 league games we need to look at the previous 16 league games first and foremost.

So, Rodgers has had 16 league games in which he has won 5, drawn 7 and lost 4 amassing 22 points, scoring 22 and conceding 20. The previous 16 games, under Dalglish we won 5, drew twice and lost 9 times amassing 17 points, scoring 22 and conceding 19. Drawing a very simple analysis would show that in points alone we have begun to move forward and have lost less games despite conceding one more goal. Progress?

Obviously analysis needs to be deeper. Arguments can be made that the games towards the end of last season became meaningless as in the league we had nothing to fight for, but then Rodgers has not been able to call upon the experience of players such as Kuyt, Maxi, or Bellamy. Also focus could turn to the pitch and arguments can be made regarding our confidence and solidity; the nightmare-inducing collapse at Loftus Road still fresh in the mind can be laid somewhat to rest with the response at the Boleyn on Sunday for example.

Obviously I could whittle on (I normally do!) but what I wanted to do was to spark some debate and get an impression of how fellow Reds, and even fans from other clubs assess progress. My thoughts, for what it is worth, is that the large tanker that is Liverpool Football Club is being turned around. Rodgers took over a club in relegation form, confidence freefall and just lost a legend, plus has overseen a rapid overturn in experienced playing staff. This must be viewed as the starting point for me.

For whatever reason we were a wounded club and unfortunately wounds take time to heal. This past 16 games then needs to be compared against the results in the next 16 games. Please get involved and let me know your opinions whether you agree or disagree and how you think progress should be judged. Second disclaimer, I’m not up Rodgers’ bum, or FSG’s bum, or paid by the club, or in fact a Nazi, before some start!

Please come find me on twitter @timdibs

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